goal. that can get down in 10 days. >> president obama there on the upcoming fiscal cliff. joining me now to discuss the standoff is the bbc's ben wright. thank you very much. was there anything in the president's speech that would give us any cause for optimism that is the cliff can beat averted? >> i thought his tone was interesting. he was optimistic an exasperated at the same time. he reminded people in congress they only have 10 days left to find a deal before there's this huge hike in taxes and cuts in spending. he said a deal of some sort is an achievable goal. he reminded people in congress that nobody can get 100% of what they want. democrats are trying to protect spending. republicans are fighting any tax increases at all, but he had a warning, too, and said it is not the time for more self-inflicted wounds. he knows the consequences of america going off the cliff. >> presumably, it is also not the time for more political posturing. we've had months now of this political theater. and the markets are reacting. they have closed down. surely the financial crisis is now upon us.